Italy – Novomatic lead from the frontBy Lewis - 23 July 2013
Recent information released by the Novomatic Group of Companies reveals the scale and size of the Austrian giant’s business in the Italian gaming market. Novomatic’s primary conduit for the Italian market is its subsidiary, Adria Gaming, which was founded in 2007 as an operator for the Italian Comma 6a (AWP) market. The business prospered and soon the company also gained a foothold as a distributor of gaming machines in accordance with the Italian Gaming regulations. Adria Gaming International has numerous subsidiaries for the various business segments: purchase and renting of gaming operations, distribution of gaming machines for the various Italian market segments as well as manufacturing of gaming equipment.
Through the introduction of Comma 6b (VLT) machines in Italy in 2009 Adria Gaming has quickly expanded its position in the Italian market. Today, the Adria Gaming Group has a high degree of business diversification, with activities in the various market segments of the third biggest industry in the country. The latest strategic acquisitions have been accomplished through the takeover of the Italian concessionary GMatica in 2011 (since 2012 a 100 per cent Novomatic Group company) and the operator Sogeslot in 2013 (80 per cent). The Adria Gaming group currently operates a total of 132 arcades with Comma 6a and 6b machines.
In the Comma 6a (AWP) sector in Italy, Adria Gaming presents a broad range of highly market specific gaming machines, currently consisting of some 480,000 machines. Sophisticated multi-game compendiums of Novomatic hit games are offered in international standard cabinets such as the Slant Top, Lounge, Classic and Super-Pub to provide market-specific products such as the Ultimate V and the range of Novostar X with the new Novostar™ X10 multi-game mix operating with the new minimum payout of 74 per cent. Italian operators have come to prefer relatively low payout percentages because of the economic pressure in the market that stems from increasing taxation, operating costs and machine renting. With a new minimum denomination of 10 Cents the new Novostar X10 offers the novelty of ‘low bet’ gaming – a factor that is highly appreciated by the Italian players.
VLTs/Comma 6b machines were introduced to the Italian market in 2009 with a new gaming regulation that, in some aspects, has come to serve as a model for many international jurisdictions. The Italian authorities originally licensed ten concessionaries that are allowed to operate Comma 6b machines. The maximum number of these Comma 6b machines for the Italian market was 14 percent of all AWP machines connected to the various concessionaries. The Comma 6b machines are only available via a contract with one of the official concessionaries. A maximum of 150 VLTs is allowed per location, provided that the gaming floor has a minimum area of 300 sqm.
With the new law came the mandatory centralised game management via a central server that is located with the administrative monopoly authority. This system grants complete governmental control: even the slightest interference at the site of the terminals is technically impossible and the supervisory authorities have unlimited access to all data that also enables a precise computation of the duties that are to be paid. This extremely tight regulation of the Italian market set a new international trend.
Adria Gaming has long term Comma 6b supply contracts and agreed profit sharing plans with all official Italian concessionaries; amounting to a market share of more than 50 percent – of which approximately 20,600 are currently installed. Novomatic has proved its ability to roll out the huge number of 20,000 machines in just 2 ½ years for the Italian market – in addition to the usual international production capacities.
The Novomatic Comma 6b games offering comprises 10 international hit games in three cabinets that are international standards multi-game machines, two upright cabinets and a top-performing slant top cabinet. Currently available are Book of Ra™ deluxe, Just Jewels™ deluxe, Lucky Lady’s Charm™ deluxe, Draw Poker™ deluxe, Dolphin’s Pearl™ deluxe, Power Stars™, Sizzling Hot™ deluxe, Rapid Numbers™, Always Hot™ deluxe and Ultra Hot™ deluxe – and the range is growing as the required homologation proceeds with ten more games in the pipeline. Through the downloadable system the implementation of newly available games in the machines is easy, as the concessionaries can download the games according to their own business strategy in accordance with the government authority SOGEI.
In the business tradition of the Austrian mother group the Italian subsidiary, too, attaches great significance to a broad diversification of its business activities in the various segments of the Italian gaming market, also comprising a diversified sports betting and online gaming offering. The Adria Gaming group provides its services for the landbased betting market in Italy through its subsidiary Admiral Bet Italia s.r.l. Currently the company has licenses for 44 betting outlets on the basis of which it operates 17 betting shops as well as 27 betting corners in bars and tobacco stores. The betting offering comprises events that are officially allowed by the Italian regulator (AAMS): soccer, Formula 1, tennis, basketball, volleyball, moto GP, moto superbike, hockey, baseball, golf, WSOP (World Series of Poker), the Olympic Games, swimming, rugby, ski events, cycling as well as special Italian events such as the Festival di San Remo or Miss Italia competitions.
The online gaming provider Admiral Interactive s.r.l was founded in August 2012 as a result of the acquisition of GMatica and the integration of its online gaming division with the Adria Gaming Group. The company provides a great range of slot games as well as casino games, Poker, Bingo and online sportsbetting via five different brands:
• www.casinoyes.it: with a game portfolio of currently 20 video slots; 16 live table games and 6 video poker games;
• www.pokeryes.it: a poker platform (cash and tournament games);
• www.bingoyes.it: a bingo platform with currently 5 different bingo rooms;
• www.slotyes.it: a proprietary gaming platform with a growing range of Novomatic slot games available;
• www.sportyes.it: a proprietary online betting platform (currently in a beta version) – by September 2013 it will offer the complete range of online sports betting odds.
Adria Gaming’s success is based on the one hand on the great popularity of the Novomatic products but also on the dominant position of the Novomatic Group in terms of gaming innovations. Throughout recent years the company has been pioneering the technological development of centrally operated VLTs. The company’s founder Prof. Johann F. Graf had recognised early on that strictly regulated gaming markets create high demands in terms of systems reliability and maximum transparency for the governmental supervisory authorities. The decision made in favour of Novomatic as a supplier was made by the concessionaries – certainly based on the well-known fact that Novomatic gaming equipment worldwide stands for excellent performance and ROI, as the games themselves are based on in-depth knowledge of player preferences and demands. A third factor for the great success of Adria Gaming is undeniably the profound market knowledge and experience of the management team of Susanne Zimmerl, Markus Büchele and Franco Rota in combination with the broad diversification of business activities in the Italian market.